Your Life, God’s Way

God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies Hudson Taylor

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Years ago, my church – Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida – rented a billboard near a busy highway. We were looking to attract people to what God was doing in our world. The ad featured an image of me (which made sense because the invitation was coming from the church, and well, I’m the pastor) with these words emblazoned across the ad:

Your Life, God’s Way

Despite the blinding vibrancy of my lime green golf shirt, we got a great response to that billboard. Lots of people visited Celebration for the first time and made it their home. Why? I seriously doubt it was due to my friendly-yet-penetrating gaze as drivers made their daily commute to work each day. No.

What drew people in was that the ad offered a different approach to the one thing everyone is concerned about and probably mulling over on their way to work: my life. Imagine the thoughts of those drivers. It’s not hard because we’ve all had them at one time or another, maybe at this very moment:

  • My life is a mess.
  • My life is going great.
  • My life doesn’t matter.
  • My life is about to change.
  • My life is falling apart.
  • My life has no purpose.
  • My life is too busy.
  • My life is depressing.
  • My life is over-the-top amazing.

The billboard reached all these people behind the wheel – all with different plans, experiences, hopes, disappointments, and so on – and offered them one more lens through which to view their life: God’s way.

Adding these two words has a way of changing our perspective. It forces us to pause and consider that there may be a completely different way of doing life than we are currently doing it, one we may never have considered. I’m sure more than one person drove by that billboard and thought, “God’s way,” huh? What does that look like? It’s gotta be better than the way I’m doing it.

When I first started thinking about my life in terms of God’s way, three life-altering, game-changing realizations came to mind. And speaking now as a pastor, let me add that these apply to anyone.

God has a “way” for our lives. Most people think God is not at all interested in the details of our lives. But he is.

He doesn’t sit in heaven simply watching our lives from the nosebleeds. God wants to be fully involved in your life, and He has a game plan, a path, a way for your life that is designed specifically for you (Psalm 37:23). As you make Him the first priority in your life, you’ll witness firsthand just how much God wants to be present and active in your life. You will experience His presence on a whole new level.

We don’t have to carry the weight of our life alone. Life is challenging, and the cares of life are heavy, but God doesn’t want you to carry the burden alone. Jesus invites you to keep step with Him while He does the heavy lifting (Matthew 11:28). When you put God first, you begin to live in response to Him as He shapes your life. Rather than striving to manipulate and control every outcome under your own strength, you will find that God is standing close, ready to help lighten the load.

God’s way is better than ours.

The Bible says that God’s way is perfect, refreshing, trustworthy, right, and enlightening (Psalm 19:7-8). I don’t know about you, but my way usually isn’t any of those things. Amazingly, God’s way is not only all those things, but it also meets us wherever we are.

When you feel like your life…

  • is a mess, God works all things out for your good (Romans 8:28).
  • is going great, God has greater things in store for you (1 Corinthians 2:9).
  • doesn’t matter, God ascribes incredible value to you (1 Peter 1:18-19).
  • is about to change, he will be with you every step of the way (Hebrews 13:5).
  • is falling apart, God is your strength and deliverer (Psalm 18:1-2).
  • has no purpose, God’s purpose for you will prevail (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • is too busy, God’s peace guards your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7).
  • is depressing, he is the giver of joy (Romans 15:13).
  • is over-the-top amazing, there is a place to direct your gratitude (James 5:13).

God’s way for your life is the best possible way you can live. This is the God-first life. It’s the life God intends you to live.

Today’s article was written by Stovall Weems and is shared from the following website: https://www.faithgateway.com/your-life-gods-way/#.W3Q_gy-ZNmA

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The Joy of Having Faith in a Perfectly Faithful God

Faith is the vision of the heart; it sees God in the dark as well as in the day Unknown

The account given in Luke 7 of Jesus healing the Centurion’s servant is a rather short and easily overlooked story. However, in this passage, God reveals some supremely significant truths. This section of Luke proves that there truly is no section of Scripture that is irrelevant. In fact, these ten verses tell us a lot more than simply a story of one of Jesus’s miracles; they show us that God has infinite power and that true God-given faith stands out and can move mountains. We also are given an example of how humility and a recognition of our lowly state leads to the ability to see Christ as He is: the Lord of Lords and King of Kings who was brought low for our sake. The Centurion was a man who was highly esteemed in his community. He had power and wealth. Yet, in verse six, he says he is not worthy to have Jesus even enter his household. There is an important lesson of both trust and humility to be seen in the Centurion.

Not only did the man not think himself worthy of being in the presence of Jesus, but he also trusted the power of Jesus enough to ask the Lord to heal his servant from where they stood. How often do we, in a trial or struggle, pray to God with doubt and concern and hesitation? It is against our human nature to give up control and truly trust God. However, this Centurion does just that, and he is not disappointed. His servant is healed, and he is praised for his act of faith. We, too, must remember that we serve a loving and a powerful God.

What a wonderful combination.

God shows us love in sending his Son, in upholding us in this life, and in bringing us closer to himself, even in the midst of this sinful world. However, we also serve a powerful God who has the ability to heal us, to help us, to calm us, to deliver us, and to grow us.

Since he is a faithful God, we are called to be faithful servants to him. May we have the kind of faith that the Centurion showed in Luke 7. May we call out to God with the confidence that what we ask will surely be granted. May that same faith be used to show the love of Christ to those around us. If the Centurion cared so much for the earthly state of his servant, how much more should we care for the eternal wellbeing of those around us? It is easy to think about people like Daniel, Joseph, and David for examples of saving, trusting faith. However, we do not need to walk into a fiery furnace, be sold into slavery, or stand against a giant in order to find or exemplify mountain-moving faith. Instead, we must simply look to God with a trusting heart: “Here is my life, guide me, sanctify me, and lead me in your ways.” We must do so with a confidence that the loving, almighty God whom we serve will fulfill all those things in our lives in unimaginable ways. For we have in his word a plethora of promises, to be held through any situation we might face in this life.

The same God-given faith that allowed Daniel to walk through fire unharmed, that allowed Joseph to thrive and witness even after being sold into slavery, that allowed David to stand against a giant and prevail, lives in us. How can we ever fear things in this life? How can we ever doubt a God who has never failed? When we face a trial or unsure situation in this life, may we stand firm in the confidence that the God who rules over us is faithful and loving. Even when we fail, when we falter, when we doubt, he stands firm for us. He will never leave us or forsake us. What a joy we have to rest in that promise.

Today’s article was written by Stephanie Kuiper and is shared from the following website: https://inallthings.org/the-joy-of-having-faith-in-a-perfectly-faithful-god/

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Use Your Gifts and Talents!

Use your gifts faithfully, and they shall be enlarged; practice what you know, and you shall attain to higher knowledge. Matthew ArnoldDo you recognize that you have gifts? Do you feel in your heart that there are special things you should be doing with those gifts? If so, I hope you will not ignore those feelings in your heart.

If you honestly don’t feel that you have any gifts and/or talents, I hope that you will go to the Lord and ask Him to reveal them to you.

One of the most memorable parts of my near-death experience was seeing how all of us who would be born to this earth had been blessed with a multitude of gifts and talents.

Although we were not given the same talents and gifts and some were given more than others, the most important aspect of those gifts, that I witnessed, was that we honor and use them.

For me, it makes the parable of the talents that is shared in the New Testament even more meaningful. What I saw in heaven supports what is taught in that parable. It doesn’t matter what talents we receive. It matters that we use them and when we do, not only will those talents increase, we will also be provided with additional talents.

It is my witness that the Lord loves us and wants us to use what He has given us. We have all been given talents and gifts that are meant to be developed and used here in mortality.

With the Lord, our gifts do not have to be complicated. They can be as simple as having the gift of listening or as far-reaching as the gift of of inspiring millions. The important thing about gifts is that they are meant to be shared.

If you haven’t already, I hope you will commit to share your gifts with the world!

In that light, I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Two Intelligent Boys

Once upon a time there were two incredibly intelligent and capable boys. Their wonderful talents were obvious from an early age, and they easily outdid everyone around. They had always known they were special, and they harbored inside them a desire that, in the future, everyone would come to admit how exceptional they were.

Each of them developed in a different way. The first used all his talent and intelligence to have a successful career and show everyone his superiority. He took part in all kinds of competitions, visited all the most important people and places, and was great at making friends in high places. Even when still very young, no one doubted that some day he would be the wisest and most important person in the land.
The second boy, equally aware of his own capabilities, never stopped feeling a heavy responsibility. He would do almost any task better than those around him, and he would feel obliged to help them. This didn’t leave him enough time to follow his own dreams of greatness. He was always busy looking for ways to more effectively help others. As a result, he was a much-loved and well-known person, but only in his own small circle.

Destiny was such that a great disaster struck that land, spreading problems and misery far and wide. The first of those brilliant young men had never come across anything like this, but his brilliant ideas worked successfully throughout the land, and they managed to slightly improve the situation. But the second young man was so used to solving all kinds of problems, and had such useful know-how in certain subjects, that the disaster hardly affected the people in his region at all. His admirable methods were then adopted across the land, and the fame of this good and wise man spread even more than had that of the first young man. Indeed, he was soon elected governor of the whole nation.

The first young man then understood that the greatest fame and wisdom is that which is born from the very things we do in life, from the impact they have on others, and from the need to improve ourselves every day. He never again took part in competitions or vain shows, and from then on, whenever he traveled, he took his books along with him, so he would be ready always to offer a helping hand to all.

Story Written by Pedro Pablo Sacristan

Story shared from the following website: https://freestoriesforkids.com/children/stories-and-tales/two-intelligent-boys

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Three Ways to Increase Your Faith

Feed your faith and starve your doubts Kenneth E. Hagin, Sr.

Three Ways to Increase Your Faith

How do you increase your faith? I used to struggle with this as a young Christian. But in time I’ve learned at least three simple ways to help build and increase our reliance on God.

1. Read the Word

Or at least hear God’s Word. Romans 10:17 says, So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. If no one had ever told me about Jesus, and about God’s plan for my life, or if I had never read for myself about Him, I would be clueless about the need for faith.

Reading or hearing God’s Word is like planting a garden. If you want to grow or “build” a garden, you must first plant the seeds, or the actual plant or flower. God’s Word is the seed that grows the faith. Knowing His promises, what God says about you, about life, and about Jesus’ plan for eternal life won’t transplant themselves into your brain by osmosis. Become familiar with the Bible and what faith is all about by meditating on its contents. This will give you the basis for growing or increasing your faith.

James 1:22-24 offers a second way to increase your faith: But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. What I see in the mirror when I first wake up is not the most beautiful sight. Obviously I see there is work to do and makeup to apply if I want to add to my appearance.

If we fail to heed what we’re reading and ignore what God is telling us, then our faith grows stagnant. It took faith for us to become children of God in the first place. Therefore, in order to grow and increase our faith, we need to use that “measure” of faith God gives to everyone and build on it.

3. Test the Word                  

There is a difference in “testing” God by “contesting” Him (seeing how far God’s patience will go with your own self will) and “testing,” or proving God’s Word is true.  Malachi 3:9-11   offers one practical way God says we can prove Him faithful to His Word. This passage concerns tithing and being good stewards of the things He has given us:  Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”  As you “test” or act on what God says and experience God’s blessing, your faith grows.

The process of testing the measure of faith you have may involve trials and difficulties. How can you increase your faith in those circumstances? Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance (James 1:2-3).

A Personal Example

The first time my husband and I had to admit we were financially challenged, we had some choices to make. The biggest one was, would we trust God and the promises we had read in His Word? When a new difficulty developed, we faced the same choices. If we chose to believe God, our faith grew a little more. Then the really big crises erupted, like unemployment, parenting, and marriage challenges.

But each time we looked back and saw the tracks of God’s faithfulness. He truly had kept His Word, and we came to understand the true meaning of “perseverance.” Trusting Him with smaller problems has built our faith to believe Him for the harder issues. Yet, there are still times when I feel more like a baby in my faith than a giant. It’s always in need of growing.

My Prayer for You

Lord Jesus, increase our faith as we learn to depend on You and trust You more and more. Help us to crave Your Word: to read it, to heed it, and to test it, so it can truly become part of our lives. We long to be doers and not just hearers. Lord, we desperately need more of You and less of ourselves. Thank You for Your faithfulness in always keeping Your Word.

Day-votedly Yours,

Rebecca

Today’s post was written by Rebecca Barlow Jordan and is shared from the following website: https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/three-ways-to-increase-your-faith.html

 

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You Are a Child of God

Remember who you are. Don’t comprimise for anyone, for any reason. You are a child of the Almighty God. Live That Truth. Lysa TerkeurstWhen I was a young boy, we had a man in our ward whose face had been disfigured by a terrible disease. The man’s appearance frightened me and other children in the ward. Then, one day when I was five or six years old, he stood up in fast and testimony meeting and bore his testimony. I don’t remember what he said, but into my young heart came a powerful feeling of warmth and love.

After that experience, my fear of the man left. I didn’t realize it then, but the Spirit had touched my heart and helped me to see more than the man’s physical appearance. Through those feelings, I learned that he was a beloved child of Heavenly Father and that I didn’t need to be afraid of him.

Later, I had an experience that helped me understand that I too am a child of God. When I was in Primary, disturbing things were happening in the world. I remember being frightened sometimes when I listened to the news. I wondered what the future would be like.

One Sunday in Junior Sunday School, our leaders announced that we were going to learn a new hymn called “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go” (Hymns,no. 270). The music director taught us the words to the hymn using pictures of mountains, stormy seas, and other scenes mentioned in the words: “I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, over mountain or plain or sea; I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord; I’ll be what you want me to be.”

As the words of the hymn ran through my mind, the feeling of warmth and love that I had felt before came into my heart again. I knew for the first time that Heavenly Father knew who I was and that I was important to Him. I knew that my life had a purpose and that everything would be all right.

I am one of 11 children. As I grew up, my parents taught us the principles of the gospel in our home. We worked hard milking cows, feeding chickens, moving sprinkler pipe, and taking care of animals. Summers were spent planting, weeding, harvesting, and preserving fruits and vegetables. We were active in church, school, and sports. There was never enough time to get everything done. But our parents always insisted on us waking up early each morning for family scripture study and prayers before we went our separate ways. Through the years, I felt that feeling of warmth and love reminding me who I was and that everything would be all right.

I testify that each of us is a beloved child of Heavenly Father. He loves us with all of His heart. Take time to read about Him, pray to Him, and attend church to worship Him. I know that He will give you that feeling of warmth and love in your heart. Then you can know that you are a child of God, your life has a purpose, and everything will be all right.

Today’s story is shared from an interview with Paul B. Pieper. It is shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/friend/2008/01/you-are-a-child-of-god?lang=eng

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